One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A minute soft-bodied crab that lives inside the shell of a bivalve mollusc, where it filters food particles from the water drawn into the shell by its host.
Family Pinnotheridae: Pinnotheres and other genera
- ‘Pinnotheres ostreum, and P. pisum, pea crab, are remarkably small crabs which live out their lives inside the shells of oysters or mussels.’
- ‘Whether due to the larvae's deliberate selection of a host or to improved survival under more favorable circumstances, pea crabs are found more often in larger mollusks, which filter a greater volume of seawater.’
- ‘They described the occurrence of a pinnotherid crab, Pinnixa faba, the so-called pea crab, in association with its pelecypod host, Tresus capax.’
- ‘Thus, while the crabs cause no immediately life-threatening damage, the female pea crab - unable to survive outside its host once it becomes established - is by all other measures a true parasite.’
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